Monday, June 11, 2018

Wargaming on a Budget: Toys for the Superhero Genre

Recently, I posted about using toys for gaming purposes.  I think there are three major genres that lend themselves well to toys as game aids.  The first is dexterity based games, the second is car combat, and the third is SuperHero games.  Typically, there are plenty of toys out there that can be used in these genres.  A case could probably be made for other genres such as Mecha/Giant Monsters or Sci-Fi spaceships too. 

To prove that I wasn’t all hat and no cattle, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and show some examples of how this could be done.  I have had the Super System 4th Edition rules for some time now, but have only run through a partial game using statted up Skylander toys.  That was the original reason I picked up the rules, so that I could use all those silly Skylander models on the tabletop instead of just for the game.  I will probably still do this, but I feel like my window for relevance on Skylanders as a wargame has closed. 

Anyway, I was at the local discount retail chain store (Target) and saw something called Nano Metal Super Hero figs in packs of 5.  I looked them over and bought 3 for about $15 or a dollar a figure.  I have also seen people take cheap Heroclix models and repaint them for Super Systems too.

The first thing I did was use the rules to set-up some basic teams.  Thankfully, the rules have some “arch-type” pre-made characters that I applied to my teams.  They were:

The Union (of semi-professional Heroes)
The Union represents a body of “amateur” heroes that have banded together for mutual support and aid in their fight against crime and evil villains.  They are not technically part of any government, military, or police force and are free-lancers doing their own hero work when they can get time away from their normal lives.  Generally, they are the good guys and have some basic ethical and moral guidelines in order to join.  However, the key part is the collection of the dues in order to fund their retirement and benefits package.  In addition, there is some mentoring and support from other more experienced heroes.  That is the main perk of being part of The Union.
Here is a group shot of our current Union heroes: Mr. Amazing, The Red Streak, and The Riverine.

The Red Streak, The Riverine, and Mr. Amazing

The Red Streak-  The Red Streak became a hero when a lab experiment he was part of involving a super-collider went wrong and he was exposed to trace amounts of an unknown element.  This increased his ability to move very fast, and in some cases extra-dimensionally.  The exact physics is still up for study by the scientific community.  The red Streak is a young physics Grad student.  He wants to live a mostly normal college life.  However, he looks up to the Riverine and sees him as a hero and mentor.  The Red Streak is a Speedster arch-type with the Warp ability.     

The Riverine- The Riverine was a private during the Vietnam War and spent most of his career serving on Patrol Boats.  On a mission, he was deployed off the boat with his fire team.  They promptly got lost deep in the jungle.  They were attacked by Rock Apes and his companions were killed.  He was thought to be dead, and dragged by the apes through the jungle until they came to a ruined South Asian temple.  There, the former Private found a trident.  When he dragged himself to it, he felt its power and energy course into and transform him.  From then on, he was known as the Riverine, and found his way back to civilization. 

Disgusted with the Military and government of the era, the quit and was a founding member of The Union.  The Trident seems to have slowed his aging and allowed him to live an unnaturally long and healthy life.  In addition, he gained extra strength and speed beyond a normal mans.  Over the years he has become a skilled fighter and tactician with his trident.  I used the Shield-Slinger Brawler arch-type for this character.   

Mr. Amazing- Formerly Captain Amazing, he changed his name when other heroes accused him of “Stolen Valor” as Mr. Amazing had never actually been part of the military.  Therefore, he respectfully changed his name to the more civilian friendly Mr. Amazing.  Mr. Amazing has a day job and identity that he keeps secret from his peers.  He is actually a CPA that mostly does tax returns for blue-collar folks and middle income folks.  He gained his powers when he was exposed to bizarre radiation from a meteorite that landed near his home.  Since then, he has the ability to fly, is very resistant to injury, and super-strength.  He uses the Mr. Stupendous arch-type for a Brick.   

The Black Hearts
The black hearts are a gang of mercenary, powered villains.  They will do dirty deeds for cash, cut diamonds, or other rewards.  Their code is power, wealth, and material comforts.  They are aligned as long as the pay is good enough and it keeps coming.  They are not a complicated bunch, but they know that when the Heroes show up, it is better to work together than try to go it alone…. Most of the time.
Troll, Nihilist, and Metal Head

Troll- His upbringing and childhood closely match that of the Nihilist.  His family life was in constant turmoil and struggle with incarcerations, narcotics, and foster families filling it.  He was a bitter and angry child prone to violence and sarcasm.  He became a petty gun runner and drug dealer and slowly rose through the ranks.  However, a drug lab raid went bad and left him horribly disfigured in an accidental explosion.  From there, he was recruited by an evil organization who outfitted him with armor, weaponry, and gear to match his twisted visual persona.  From there, he became an enforcer and eventual criminal mercenary.  Troll is the Fate’s Gunner Blaster Arch-type.

The Nihilist- The Nihilist developed her powers at the end of her high school career in a dramatic reveal at her graduation.  She had mostly be an outsider her whole life, and developed a malicious streak.  Most of her life she felt persecuted by the ‘Haves’ and now she strives to show them all the pointlessness of their materialistic and status chasing ways.  The Nihilist uses the Mentalist Empath arch-type. 

Metal Head- Metal Head was a blue collar worker who developed his powers when he was accidentally exposed to an irradiated mix of hazardous chemicals at the plant he worked as an electrician.  This gave him super strength and toughness and the ability to turn into a metal form.  He has a love for Heavy metal music and wants nothing more than to tour the world seeing and discovering rock bands.  However, such a lifestyle is not cheap, and the Black Hearts and their mercenary ways have allowed him to finance his nomadic lifestyle.  Metal Head is the Immovable Object Brick Arch-type.  

 All of these models were from the Nano Metal toy line.  Once I had the general idea of who each figure was, it was a simple matter of doing some easy re-paints to make these well-known characters into my own heroic or villainous creations.  Soon, we will see these Toys on the battlefield as they face-off in comic book action.  

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